2014 Willamette Valley Riesling

Country: USA
Region: Willamette Valley
Grape(s): Riesling
Year: 2014
Maker: Illahe
Price: $15

My first favorite white wine was the dry Riesling from Chateau Saint Michelle – a tart slightly effervescent Washington wine in the classic Riesling bottle. After I moved across the country, the wine was no longer easily accessible, and I moved on to drinking white wines I knew would be dry (or at least relatively so). And because I don’t really know anything about Riesling, it didn’t seem like it was worth the risk.

That changed a month or so ago, when I had an amazing Alsace Riesling a few months back, followed by a long conversation with a friend extolling the virtues of Riesling a few weeks later. So Riesling got its long awaited second chance, and a bottle or two found their way into a case I ordered from Oregon. The first one I opened was from Illahe, a small Oregon winery where the corks have wax and the label fonts are beautiful.

I was a little surprised by the first sniff of the wine in the glass, which reminded me of a shrub (the vinegar drink, not the bushy plant). There was some of that in the taste as well, braced with a floral violet water backing and some pommegranete notes, muted with green melon. The wine was clean, with just a little bit of viscosity, and generally dry with some hints of sweetness towards the end, where the alcohol comes through a bit as well.

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I had the wine again the next day, where the nose smoothed out, moving from the slight vinegar closer to a cleaner grapefruit smell. The wine balanced itself out a little bit as well, though it did lose some of its more vivid flavors over the sealed night it spent in the fridge. The wine tasted good – not a revelation like the Alsace glass I had a few months back, but interesting enough to try again some time. The Rieslings await.

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2014 Willamette Valley Riesling

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